the traditional Iranian festival of the New Year in the Persian calendar which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, commencing the start of the spring. The name comes from Persian no=new + rooz=day; meaning "new day". How It All Began Some sources say that the Norouz traditions go back 3000 years; others say 5000 years, and still others say 15,000 years, before the last Ice Age, to a time when Indo-Iranians began the transition from a nomadic way of life based upon seasonal migrations accompanied by cattle, to a more settled existence. The Iranian king, Jamshid (King Yima of Eastern Iran, now Afghanistan) is supposed to have introduced the tradition of marking the spring equinox in approximately 5000 CE. Centuries later, Norouz became the day when the Iranian kings were to be greeted by their subjects, bearing gifts. Images of dignitaries approaching the throne of the king can be seen engraved on the walls at Persepolis (Pasargard). Some historians say that the Norouz festivities were borrowed from ancient Babylonians, after Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and his son, Cambyses, became king in 538 CE, bringing the tradition back to Iran. Even Alexander the Great celebrated Norouz after conquering Persia, when he had to participate in a ritual battle against a demon and defeat it, a symbol of the forces of light conquering the forces of darkness. He was then considered to be Ahura Mazda's ("God" in Zoroastrian tradition) vicegerent on earth.